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Key facts

Location: Gulf of Mexico, USA
Depth: ~2,450 metres (8,000 feet)
Interests: Shell 35% (operator), Chevron 37.5%, BP 27.5%
Fields: Great White, Tobago, Silvertip
Peak production: 100 kboe/d
Key contractors: Technip, Kiewit, FMC Technologies, Heerema Marine Contractors

The Perdido spar moves into place - watch the video:


Perdido, moored in ~2,450 metres (8,000 feet) of water, is the world’s deepest direct vertical access spar. The spar acts as a hub for and enables development of three fields – Great White, Tobago, and Silvertip. It gathers, processes and exports production from water depths of around 2,300-metres (7,500-9,500 feet). Tobago, in ~2,925 metres (9,596 feet) of water, is the world’s deepest subsea completion. Following first oil, Perdido has a peak annual production of 100,000 barrels of oil per day and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Environment and society

Social and environmental responsibility is a central pillar of Shell’s operations. Shell’s Gulf of Mexico operations have a long association with the city of New Orleans, and this is reflected in the contribution the company made to many recovery programmes after Hurricane Katrina. The Shell Coming Home campaign and sponsorship of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival – a key event in the city’s on-going recovery – helped build confidence in the city’s future. Shell is also involved in projects such as wetlands restoration on the Texas/ Louisiana coast.


The Perdido spar was constructed by Technip in Pori, Finland and began its 13,200-kilometre (8,202-mile) journey to Texas in May 2008, arriving in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2008. The 170-metre (555-foot) cylindrical spar was secured to the sea floor and Shell completed the installation of the drilling and production platform on top of it. Around 270 staff living on the platform and an adjacent floating hotel, or flotel, completed the commissioning and hook-up required to produce first oil.

There are 22 direct vertical access wells from the spar, with capability for an additional 13 tieback wells from subsea completions in the area near the platform. The Perdido hull is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower and weighs the same as 10,000 large family cars.

The Noble Clyde Boudreaux platform pre-drilled the 22 direct vertical access production wells. The Tobago field, which came on production in late 2011, set a world water depth record in drilling and completing a subsea well 2,934 metres (9,626 feet) below the water’s surface. This eclipsed the previous subsea water depth well record set at the Silvertip field of 2,852 metres (9,356 feet), and is nearly 40 percent deeper than the previous record of 2,118 metres (6,950 feet), also set by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico’s Fourier field.

Deep-water milestones